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Craving authentic Penang dishes, but can’t find anything that lives up to the iconic dish in Singapore? This assam laksa recipe is as authentic as it gets – it’s by Penang hawker Madam Cheah Siew Mooi and she kindly shared her family’s recipe. Since there are still restrictions on travel, learning to make cuisines from other cultures is a good way to expand your tastebuds till then! Learn how to make this iconic Penang dish with a recipe from a Penang hawker.


For the soup:

  • 1kg fresh sardine/mackerel/kambong fish, cleaned and blanched
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, thinly sliced
  • Bulb of 1 ginger flower, thinly sliced
  • 8 shallots
  • 250g belacan
  • 2L water
  • 2 tbsp chilli paste
  • 10g tamarind skin
  • 10g tamarind paste
  • 150g laksa leaves
  • 1 tbsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp sugar, to taste
  • 1 kg fresh rice noodles, soaked in cold water for 15min and strained

For garnish:

  • 100g prawn paste, mixed well with 50ml hot water
  • 300g Chinese lettuce, cut into thin strips about 2cm long
  • 100g mint leaves
  • 1 red onion, cut into thin strips about 2cm long
  • 1 cucumber, cut into thin strips about 2cm long
  • 4 chilli padi, sliced diagonally
  • 1 pineapple, cut into thin strips about 2cm long

For the soup:


Place a large pot of water to the boil. Add the blanched fish and simmer for another 15min, then remove the fish and let it cool on a plate. Debone the fish and roughly break it into small chunks.


Blend the lemongrass, ginger flower, shallots and belacan till smooth. Set another pot with 2L water to the boil. Add the blended paste and the rest of the soup ingredients, except the salt and sugar. Simmer for 30min until fragrant, then take out the laksa leaves.


Add the fish into the pot, bring to the boil, then simmer for 1h. Stir in the salt and sugar, taste, and slowly adjust by half teaspoons if necessary.

To serve:


Blanch the noodles in the hot soup for 15s.


To serve, pour soup over the noodles, a tsp of the prawn paste mixture, and a handful of the remaining garnishes.

Text: Mia Chenyze/HerWorld

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